2021 President’s Award Honoree is Making a Positive Difference
David O’Dell was presented the 2021 President’s Award during the 100th McPherson Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. The honoree is selected each year by the Past Presidents of the McPherson Chamber, to recognize “an individual that has given unselfishly of their time for the betterment of the business community, is readily identifiable, and has had a long-term impact.” Chet Lang, 2004-2005 Chamber President shared many accolades about David, then turned over the microphone to hear from our humble recipient.
During his remarks, President’s Award recipient David O’Dell mentioned that his father, Ivan O’Dell, had also received this award in 1976, but the award at that time was called the Man of the Year Award. David had with him the small statuette that was presented to his father at that time and said that he was honored and humbled to be able to follow in his father’s footsteps in this manner. David O’ Dell concluded his remarks with this quote from Peter Drucker, “Our mission in life is to make a positive difference, not to prove how smart we are.” O’Dell added, “In order to keep McPherson moving forward, I urge you to make a positive difference.”
Read on to learn about the numerous non-profit boards David has served on, other awards he has received, and what he considers his top “life events.”
David was born and raised in McPherson, attending Wickersham elementary and graduating from McPherson High School in 1968. He graduated from McPherson College BS in Business and several years later returned to school for further education and graduated from Emporia State University with an MBA (1985). He passed the CPA exam in 1978. During his senior year at McPherson College, he was hired by Keith G. Mines, CPA as Keith’s first employee. After eleven years with Keith David felt called to teach at McPherson College and start his own CPA practice. David retired from McPherson College in 2019 after 40 years of teaching with the Rank of Full Professor. David sold his CPA firm after 33 years of practice. He continues to work during tax season for Adams Brown, CPA firm. Next tax season he will “celebrate” 50 years of tax seasons.
During college David met Jaymie at a local church. They were married in December 1970 and recently celebrated 50 years of marriage during COVID by co-teaching a Marriage Class at their church, Countryside Covenant Church. David, his family and many, many friends will miss Jaymie as she unexpectedly passed way September 1st.
David has served on many boards of non-profits as follows:
- County Commissioner
- Chamber of Commerce
- USD 418 School Board
- Executive Director of the McPherson Small Business Development Association (SBDA) for the last 36 years. He has completed about 350 projects totaling over $50 million. Almost all of these projects were small entrepreneurial businesses.
- South-central Economic Development Association (SCKEDD) (past president) since 1997.
- Kansas Association of Certified Development Companies board (past chair) over 25 years.
- Sunflower Bank Board of Directors
- McPherson County Community Foundation Board
- McPherson E Community Board
- McPherson Hospital Board
- Educational Foundation for the Kansas Society of CPA’s
- The Cedars health Care Facility Board
- Leadership McPherson Board of Trustees
- Active Corps of Executives/SBA
- Kiwanis Club
- Covenant Bible College Board of Trustees in Windsor Co.
- McPherson Museum Board member
- Served on several committees at the college including past chair of the Business Department, Social Science Division and served as Chair of the Faculty.
- Various political activities including Treasurer for US Representative Dick Nichols, Kansas Representative Les Mason, and McPherson Mayor Tom Brown.
- Various Leadership positions at the local and state level for church
Awards and honors:
- Professor of the Year (selected by Who’s Who students)
- Citation of Merit (outstanding alumni award) from McPherson College .
- Selected for the 2000 Postsecondary Business Educator Award by the Kansas Business Education Association “For Excellence In Teaching And Service To Business Education”.
- 1995 White House Conference on Small Business (SBA)-one of 12 elected to be a Kansas delegate. Also, elected to be co-vice chair of Kansas Delegation.
- Who’s Who in American Faculty – 5 years. Nominated by senior students designated Who’s Who and/or students listed on the National Deans List.
- Awarded Small Business Administration’s Accountant Advocate of the Year Wichita District
- Leadership McPherson -1982 class
- Leadership Kansas -Kansas Chamber of Commerce
- Distinguished Club President–granted by Kansas Kiwanis Board and Kiwanis International
- Eagle Scout (Boys Scouts of America-B.S.A.) and Order of The Arrow (B.S.A.)
- Selected and attended B.S.A National (1964) and World Jamborees (1968)
Avocations: Certified BBQ (MASTER) Judge and Certified Table Captain for Kansas City Barbeque Association sanctioned contests;(closing in on 100 contests judged). Supporting Jaymie’s love of plants, flowers, and Oak Harbor Cottages.
David started his working career by sweeping floors of The Warren Barbershop in the Warren Hotel as he went to and on the way home from Wickersham at about age 8. By the way he earned a nickel each time and eventually received a 100% raise to a dime each time. Eventually, his parents put him on the payroll at O’Dell Laundry where he worked until second semester of his senior year in college. Both Danny and David were started as the lowest paid employees. David says, “we had to prove ourselves by quality work, work no one else wanted to do, and customer service often at night and weekends”.
David says “Several of top events in his life are the following:
- Accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior while in college.
- Marrying Jaymie —- a marriage of 50 years…growing in love with her even more over the last 25+ years.
- Miraculous births of Crystal and Rozalynn.
- Becoming a father-in-law to a wonderful young man—–a man that any dad would want his daughter to marry.
- Becoming papa to 6 fantastic grandchildren.
- Surviving cancer twice in 1994 and 2008 including sharing his cancer story several times including the opening speaker to the first Relay For Life in McPherson.
- Pride: being proud of the accomplishments and friendships former students.
Thank you David, for your tireless service to the McPherson community, and for the impact your involvement has made!